What justifies relocating a family?

I am cooking but it’s in a slow cooker. I’m resisting my rental apartment oven because I have a $12,000 oven at the farm that no one is using, and maybe that wouldn’t be so frustrating to me if I didn’t also have  $35,000 piano at the farm that no one is using.

I can tell I’m throwing all caution to the wind because writing other blog posts I told myself to not tell you how much I paid for the piano but really, that’ll be nothing compared to what I end up paying for a cello, so maybe I’m just conditioning you for more shocking news to come.

At 9am my older son goes to a violin lesson – he goes every day because why not? We live walking distance from the teacher and if he’s going to play an hour a day he may as well do it with someone who has a lot more patience than I do. And at 9am my younger son goes to Swarthmore college’s practice rooms to play piano. I hope the people in charge at the college don’t read this blog because I’m not actually sure if my son is allowed to do that.

But if they do read this blog, I would like to teach a writing course at the college. Wouldn’t something about how to write online be a great idea? Can you please email me about that? I taught creative writing at Boston University and I loved it. Well, except for that one kid who asked me to change his grade because he had to get an A for his application to law school.

A good time for me to talk with my husband is before the kids leave, because that’s after my husband has done chores in thirty-below temperatures and two feet of snow and he’s coming in to get warm.

I am stirring beans into chili with the phone tucked between my neck and chin when a mouse runs across the kitchen floor. I barely flinch because I’ve seen that mouse for three days. The landlord says we don’t need to worry because the apartment only gets mice for the week after Dunkin Donuts exterminates.

When I want to live without mice, I set up my laptop in Dunkin Donuts.

Right now I stir and talk. Stir and talk. My husband talks about the weather, which is not different from when we lived on the farm. Farmers talk about weather. The only difference is that he checks the weather updates for Swarthmore now, so he can also talk about my weather as well.

My weather is like a very cold fall on the farm before the leaves have fallen. The kids are unimpressed. They still wear shorts. I tell this to my husband and then, to be honest, we sort of run out of stuff to talk about.

I say, “I’m happy you are moving to Swarthmore to be with us. It means so much to me.”

He says, “Remember that I’m not moving all the way.”

“Oh. Okay. What should I call it then?

“I’m still going to take care of the farm.”

“Okay. What does that mean? I thought you’re hiring someone to take care of the farm.”

“I am. But I still have to go back.”

“Okay. Well, I’m happy that you are hiring someone to take care of the farm so you can come to Swarthmore.”

Silence. Stir. Mouse. Flinch. Stir. Silence.

“Good. Okay,” I say.

I give the boys chili for breakfast. Lunch for breakfast is one of the rules we break when my husband is not around. I don’t think he even calls it lunch. He calls the noon meal dinner and dinner supper and lunch is something people do in the city when they have no hay to rake.

There is no supper in our life. My husband has adjusted so much for me and the kids that somewhere he lost a meal.

I call him again later from Dunkin Donuts. I drink my coffee, in the front picture window, and watch people get on and off the train.

The tractor is running in the background. I say, “I thought we decided that part of having a good long-distance relationship is turning off the tractor when I call.”

“It’s too cold,” he says. Then he says, “I thought we decided you wouldn’t go to Dunkin Donuts.”

In therapy, as things got more and more difficult, the conversation became, “Why are we doing so much for cello? Why are we putting our kids’ needs ahead of everyone else’s?”

And I’d say, “Should we stay at the farm? Is that a way to handle everyone’s needs equally?”

I didn’t know what would happen when I moved. I knew the family had to make a choice. Just like there are no families where two people have high-powered careers, there are no families where two people are chasing unrelenting dreams. But I want a family where we help each other meet our goals.

And then it hits me: My husband has already met all his goals with farming. He is scared to leave the farm because he doesn’t want to lose what we have. But I always want more. I am not interested in hanging on to what we’ve done before.

102 replies
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  1. Jim Grey
    Jim Grey says:

    I imagine the hardest part of leaving the farm was leaving the oven and the piano.

    And once again you drew me in with a title, a question I was itching to answer, and you answered your own question in the last paragraphs.

  2. a
    a says:

    can’t say that I didn’t see the phone bit coming. It’s pretty easy to run out of things to talk about unless both ends are like “OMG I have so much to tell you!” If you’re calling because you’re thinking about that person then there’s not much to talk about.

  3. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    For what it’s worth, I think the fact that the farmer is looking up the weather where you are is a sign that he still loves you and that you’re important to him. That’s really nice even though I bet a ton of other stuff is a hassle right now.

  4. Maria
    Maria says:

    Men need strong women to get them out of their comfort zone.

    The farmer (now deceased at 86) told the story of his brother who lived in a shack with no running water and no electricity for over 30 years until he fell and had to be rescued. He bragged about the money he had in the bank (over $200k) but lived alone, in his own filth.

    My son in law met my daughter when he was a graduate student. He is a mechanical engineer. He had his routine, ate the same foods, went to the closest university to his parents who lived on a small hobby farm. My daughter knows it takes almost 6 months to plant a seed and slowly introduce an idea to her now husband.

    He has tried foods (and liked them, like mushrooms and pineapples) that he had never tried before. He has traveled with her to far flung places like Peru, the Amazon jungles, Rome, Venice, Spain, etc…

    His life completely changed when he trusted her judgement and followed her to keep up with her. When they first dated, she invited him to go to Spain with her, he refused, then stayed home while she traveled with her female friends. He didn’t like the feeling of being left behind especially when she told him of her misadventures. He followed her ever since.

    Their marriage was a 10 day destination wedding in the Dominican Republic and even his older married brother said if he could have done it all over again, he would have chosen this relaxing vacation wedding extravaganza that cost less than a wedding dress. Hurricane Sandy brushed by the island leaving rain in it’s path. My sister who refused to go to my daughter’s wedding and lives in Manhattan, spent the next few weeks a disaster zone. She has since moved to Miami.

    They are not wealthy, they are thrifty. They would not spend $35,000 on a piano, if they wanted a piano, there’s always someone giving one away for free. They would spend their funds on experiences and do so as economically as possible.

    They don’t buy souvenirs, but rather find something symbolic of their trip (a rock, a sea shell, etc) and have their picture taken with it at the location then put it on a shelf back home.

    They still own their own home, are almost debt free and child free but not of their own choosing. Their biggest fear? Me. I want to help them with their children, thus saving them almost $100,000 in childcare but that would have me swooping in like a hurricane trying to be helpful.

    You’re doing the best you can for your children Penelope, kudo to you for that. If he wants to move into town to be with you, then you have changed him in ways he can’t possibly imagine.

    One more thing, your landlord is putting one over on you, mice multiply and go where there’s food. You need sticky traps. That probably wasn’t the same mouse you saw.

    • I.T.
      I.T. says:

      “Men need strong women to get them out of their comfort zone.”

      I like that statement but at the same time I think men become stronger with the right women.

  5. Lauren Teller
    Lauren Teller says:

    ohhh…i love to throw things away, keep the counters clear, only have clothing i actually wear. i have sweaters that i take out every fall, and put away every spring. never wear. and earrings that stay in the jewelry box. never wear them. i keep them still, and make room for more.
    One advantage to Swarthmore is that you might have more opportunities to wear the pearls.
    merry happy sweet music!

  6. Jay
    Jay says:


    I have worked in the oil and gas business for twenty five years. At least in this industry there have always been commuters – folks that live in one place and work large portions of the year in another.
    For the last ten years I have lived in North Louisiana and worked in Denver (1 year), Dallas (5years), and Houston (4 years) because I make double what I can at home. During this time I have know folks that that have commuted from Salt Lake, Virginia, and Tulsa to Dallas and several different states to Houston. What you are doing is no different.

    This arrangement works well for my wife and me. She is a teacher and travels to visit me about 3-4 per year. The rest of the weekends I drive home – about a 5 hour trip.

    One interesting upside that is not apparent to someone not in this situation is that while I am away at work, I can focus on work. There is no need to rush home. If I need to work until 8, no big deal. My career has advance because of this.

    My children are older 23, 21, and 17 and lived either with their mom most of their teen years, in the same Louisiana town. I saw them virtually every weekend and made more parent teacher conferences and school events than my ex. We have done math homework many nights by cellphone picture of problems. Not ideal but that wasn’t a choice I was given.

    What you and your husband are doing is far from unique, though maybe not common with one spouse a farmer. I come home each weekend very ready to see family, so much so that I focus of the fun and positive, not wanting to waste time with petty crap or fighting.

    I firmly believe what you and the Farmer are doing can actually strengthen your marriage. Absence (and abstinence) make the heart grow fonder.

  7. Virginia
    Virginia says:

    Wow, the fact that the farmer is coming to live with you is fantastic news! I didn’t think there was any hope of that from the tone of your last post. I hope everything goes well with the transition.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Hm. I guess I do sort of feel like I have to justify them to you. Because you know so much about me. You can see a train wreck coming. It’s so much easier to see other peoples’ lives than see our own. And that’s true for me, too, and often I feel I have so many people who see my life more clearly than I see my own.


      • Ib
        Ib says:

        I sort of assumed you guys would be commuting to the farm on weekends…which seemed a workable situation to me. Somehow, the farmer leaving the farm raises red flags to me….

  8. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    Dunkin donuts. What I learned a few days ago – “The doughnut is deep-fried, filled with jelly or custard, and then topped with powdered sugar. At Hanukkah, Jewish people observe the custom of eating fried foods in commemoration of the miracle associated with the Temple oil.” So I guess you’re just getting in some practice. Happy Hanukkah Penelope. Best to you and your family.

  9. Derek Scruggs
    Derek Scruggs says:

    My dad was an airline pilot and looking back I think that’s a great job for a father. It paid really well, so no need for two incomes, and he would alternate being gone for 3-4 days with being home.

    When he was home he would do typical dad chores and do a lot of the kid errands like dropoff and pickup for soccer practice. It gave my mom a break and let him spend time with the kids organically. And then he got a break by going to work for a few days.

    My parents didn’t have a perfect relationship, but I think the regular breaks helped them cope.

  10. Alyson
    Alyson says:

    My husband arrives today. He’s been working in London for a little while, he’s a Chef, he does some temping to earn extra money now and then. The boys and I are in Romania, it’s -18C and we’re enjoying skiing and the hardships of remote , rural life. When we uped sticks from Australia 4 years ago my husband was executive Chef at a 5 star resort. As high as any chef could get. He was glad to leave because he’d gone as high as he could. He was done and ready for change. I guess your husband’s farm is done too, but it’s his, he created it ( did he?) . That must be harder. In the same way I could never quit my blogs, they are my 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th children. Much as I hate them some days they are still mine. Anyway, we get mice too. We live in the countryside. Get some mouse traps. It’s always OK to move a family, we’ve moved to every continent bar Antarctica, it’s what we call ” fun” but you were settled, you’d bought stuff, that’s harder. The music thing…no idea, no interest in music. Is it what they want to do for the rest of their lives?

  11. Kirk
    Kirk says:

    Farming is not something where you meet all your goals, it’s about production. Life can’t always be based on goals like in a corporation. Farming is in the blood of many people, it’s who they are. Nothing goes downhill quicker than a farm being farmed by someone other than that farm’s farmer. Most farmers would kill to have an extra 35k.

  12. The Study of Humans
    The Study of Humans says:

    With my husband shipping out half the year, I’ve learned how you spend your time apart is not nearly as important as how you spend your time together. What you do when together is what will get you through the time apart.

    My guess is this might be harder on you, than the Farmer. He’s an introvert, right? As an introvert, I would be giddy about having the home to myself for a portion of the time!

    I can’t wait for your next post :)


  13. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    I packed up a life in dubai and 2 kids and moved to ottawa couple of years ago because I wanted to do what’s best for my children’s future. I was so worried following the 2008 recession and refused to believe that I could stay a day more in that part of the world. My husband didn’t move with us and came to visit 3 to 4 times a year and so did we. None of the phone calls or the visits were as fun as I could remember because he hated my guts but had no other choice than to support my idea at that time. We were fighting over the phone and I reached a point where I would not want him to call or even come visit. I had no one to blame other than myself and I couldn’t hate him because I knew he was suffering. He never told me how much he was hurting and how sad he was to live far away from us and being the main bread earner he couldn’t leave his secure job and venture with me on my own project just because I like you I am not used to doing the same thing over and over again and when I am sure it’s no longer working I have no fear of moving to somewhere else or start something new. Unfortunately like many new immigrants to Canada i struggled for 5 years changing my career twice and never got a secure job enabling us to live together and guess what? The day I finally signed a teaching contract at a local college in Ottawa and was sure everything is going be finally normal in my life, i slipped on couple of drops of water and landed on my forehead leaving me with a head trauma and 6 months severe concussion. I once again had to do what is best for my children and moved back to Dubai. I just wanted to tell you that following your own intuition/ dreams is only possible if this is what is meant to happen in your life. I have never regretted any of my decisions and so should you!!! Wait and See you never know what your life story still have to unfold for you.

  14. BSO
    BSO says:

    Melissa! Melissa!

    Time to take over the wheel before the car crashes.

    Melissa!!! Where is that girl when she’s needed?

  15. Bob
    Bob says:

    You’ll know he’s “met all his goals with farming” when he says he’s selling the farm. If he’s going to Swarthmore, it’s just a winter vacation. It’s easy to hire someone to feed the hogs.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I always love when farm people write comments. I am so out of my league with farming. I think maybe you are right. Farmers are so about process. I don’t know what I think… I just want to feel close to him and I want the kids to feel like he is in their life.


      • Anonymous
        Anonymous says:

        And the way you thought might best be achieved was by . . . moving away, and spending how many thousand dollars (over a period of time) on lessons and tutors?

        How’s that workin’ for ya so far?

  16. Chris
    Chris says:

    Dreams are not unrelenting–only the people pursuing those dreams are unrelenting. Which brings you (and the farmer) to the notion of flexibility. Is flexibility a value for you/him?

    And the notion of compromise, a twin to flexibility . . .

    If you are happy, you can be happy anywhere. There are 4 of you: if each could list 2 things that make him/her happy, and then look hard at the list for patterns, for similar values, etc., would it help you to feel more fair and balanced? Less guilty?

    And can you be happy if you are stretching out of your comfort zone? Can you see it as a balancing act between present, short-term happiness/discomfort v future happiness?

  17. jessica
    jessica says:

    As long as the nine year old knows this isn’t all about him (too much pressure) I think it’s fine. You moved to Swarthmore, for you.

  18. Sharon
    Sharon says:

    It sounds like being single would have been your best life plan, because you could always want/seek more without hurting others. Without intention, your children and husband will disappoint you, because they will never be enough to fill the hole in your heart.

  19. YesMyKidsAreSocialized
    YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

    Maybe you think you need to justify yourself to your readers, but this move makes a lot of sense. Homeschooling in such a rural area and living on a farm was getting increasingly difficult to meet the needs for your older highly academic son, and music lessons for your cello prodigy was getting ridiculous with all that time in the car. Yay for daily music lessons and the piano in the college’s music room!!

    I’m kind of like you, I like mixing it up and moving on to new goals or literally moving to a new city. One thing can be said about you, you are NOT boring and I’m certain you make the farmer’s life much more interesting with you in it! You’ll find a way to make it work like other families that are in the same situation do.

    • Buck
      Buck says:

      I’ll say s few things before departing. Penelope has bored me. Especially the political posts. She had no interesting insights. It’s hard to bore people if you have zero standards of privacy guys. Like I said I most enjoyed the philosophical homeschool stuff. Her career advice wasn’t for me because I’m a professional w my own business and it’s pretty secure. But I’m sure it helped or inspired others. I’d add I think Penelope gave up zip to be on farm and mooched off hubby to pay for her son’s teachers and luxury lifestyle. She said she wanted the farm for her kids so she calculated and did that. Am I the only one reading? I’m a city gal but resent the anti rural sentiment some express. The richest woman self made in America grew up on a dairy farm. She runs a roofing siding supply and is a billionaire. I agree farmer should live only half the year there. Jeez Penelope compromise. You’re not getting any younger and I don’t think at age 50 you’ll be charming hubby number three.

      • jessica
        jessica says:

        I picked that up long ago: re- the financial thing. At the same time, living that lifestyle and having to commute costs so much money in time and effort I think it comes out in the wash. Some things just aren’t worth it, and maybe that’s what she realized.

  20. Candice
    Candice says:

    Thank you for sharing, Penelope…it takes a heck of a lot of chutzpah to expose yourself; a treasure for us to learn by.

    Each time I read your blog, I am thoroughly enchanted by the gift of your wonderful mind; a blessing for all three of the guys in your life and your readers!

    Happy Hanukkah, and God Bless You and your family…

  21. Olivier
    Olivier says:

    I have a bad feeling about this. The farmer is not a chameleon like you. He spent his whole life being a farmer or a farmer-in-waiting or -training, by choice. What is there for him in Swarthmore, beyond you and the kids?

  22. Kathy Berman
    Kathy Berman says:

    You had to do it. The farm as you said was a good place for the boys and you. Think of it as a balancing act. You gave up a lot to be on the farm for him and the boys Now is your time. You love looking out at that train. Help him learn to treat the farm as a part-time job. Maybe he needs a new hobby or two. He doesn’t want you at DD because he doesn’t want some other guy seeing what a good thing he has. Be patient. He will love being out of the cage–eventually.

  23. Tina
    Tina says:

    In so many ways this sounds good for the kids and possibly good for you in terms of work (more time, less driving) but horrible for your relationship with the farmer. Somehow, I just don’t see him permanently moving away from the farm to be with you. Given that you alluded to relationship problems with the farmer before the move, this will be make or break for your relationship. Either you will decide that you miss each other so much that you want to stick it out and put in the work or it will become evident that this relationship is not going to make it. But I agree that it is encouraging that he looks up the weather in your area.

    I would suggest embracing your new life. Cook on the stove. Get real furniture. This is your life now. Stop acting like it’s not.

  24. Tina
    Tina says:

    And you don’t really want to teach a class at the college. You’re in love with the idea of it, but between the curriculum requirements and the whiny students wanting better grades and the low pay for most adjuncts, you will hate it. Don’t waste your time.

    I can say all this because I am a college instructor and I don’t think it would be a good fit for you.

      • Tracy
        Tracy says:

        Oooh, thanks. Mustn’t share that with my husband, he’ll want one… oops too late, couldn’t help it.

    • RoseAG
      RoseAG says:

      It ought to get you gas burners, some that will stay on at really low levels and others that will boil anything within a foot of the burner, a grill, and a high quality electric oven with convection capability.

      It’s not surprising that someone who spent $12k on an oven finds themselves not cooking on it. Cooking isn’t about the oven, it’s about a cook with the time to do it.

  25. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I know a couple who, some of the time or a lot of the time, live in a smallish house — on a land, but they don’t farm. Two hour drive to serious civilization.

    The husband, a retired CEO of a company and a scientist, is at heart a Good Old Boy. Still consults in his scientific field, but only occasionally travels.

    Wife a painter, has a gallery. One half is gallery, the other a long narrow living space — bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom.

    The husband doesn’t like spending time there. And he has a good reason. “There isn’t any place for me.” (No separate office for him, no front-porch swing, etc.)

    WILL THERE BE A PLACE FOR THE FARMER ? Where will it be? What will he do if he “moves” to be with you? Can’t farm, in an apartment . . . what will he do?

  26. Ausser
    Ausser says:

    “And then it hits me: My husband has already met all his goals with farming. He is scared to leave the farm because he doesn’t want to lose what we have.”

    Be careful, this can mean very bad things for not just a relationship, but even for being able to interact.

    This is exactly what I had with my ex-wife. I was satisfied with our life and life path. In fact, I was happy. She wasn’t, and wanted much more + something else.

    Every time she asked for more + something else, I felt she wanted to take away my happiness. Every time I tried to hang on to everything that I loved about the life we led, she felt I wanted to prevent her from ever reaching it.

    That dynamic doesn’t make it easy to agree to disagree. It tends to make people hate each other over time, and dread bumping into the other person at all—especially tough when social norms demand that you regularly interact.

  27. Jenn
    Jenn says:

    Recognize that clock. Swarthmore train station Septa R3 track. Suprised to hear ur husband is moving. Glad to hear it. Sacrifice is so hard but the payoff can be so great. Btw if u haven’t noticed locals don’t pronounce the r in Swarthmore so it sounds like Swathmore.

  28. A-ron
    A-ron says:

    I think I’m like you, always wanting to know, “what’s next?” even if it’s for someone else. But I think a lot of folks like to work work work to get somewhere where they can stay comfortable forever. Whatever. None of it matters anyway. Y’all are all doing the right thing and it makes for interesting reading.

  29. Bostonian
    Bostonian says:

    How many years until your son is big enough to play a full size cello?

    You might want to look into Luis & Clark carbon fiber cellos. Yo Yo Ma plays one. You can get one for around 7 K. They don’t go out of tune from weather. And you can clean them with Windex. Beautiful instruments.

    Sounds like things are going well, and your kids are happier than ever before.

    I would encourage you to remain open to your husband keeping his farm and living with you part of the year until your kids are on their way. He may feel disoriented and aimless without his land.

  30. harris497
    harris497 says:

    Life is messy. But it gets messier if you don’t stop running… whatever the reason. Unrelenting searching is a sign of something amiss – you alone know what it is. Cello and piano lessons aren’t it. There are always workarounds, but family comes first.
    Sorry to go all dime-store therapist on you:)


  31. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    My 2cents worth is spot on. You have been running for years girl. Now your teaching your kids the same behavior. An endless cycle, generation to generation.

  32. James Magna
    James Magna says:

    It is disgusting how you have erased your children’s actual biological father from your posts. Given your toxic relentless honesty, I don’t think it’d be a stretch to infer you’ve done this in your children’s lives too. Your husband is not their father. He may be an amazing father figure to them, but they have a father already.

    • Mark W.
      Mark W. says:

      How often should she post about the children’s biological father?
      Here’s a post on this blog dated 7/16 of this year – http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2016/07/16/the-reason-we-stink-at-solving-our-own-problems/ and one dated 9/21 of this year on her homeschooling blog – http://education.penelopetrunk.com/2016/09/21/packaging-your-homeschooler-for-college-admissions/ . And both posts include photos of him. I don’t know how that would be considered a case of “… erased your children’s actual biological father from your posts.” or “… done this in your children’s lives too.”

    • Buck
      Buck says:

      We only get one side of the story. They both seem like good men. Penelope is cute and witty but not cute or witty enough to compensate for being so routinely selfish pretending it’s sacrifice for the kids. Everything she does is calculated in a status seeking way. I enjoyed the philosophical posts on homeschooling but she doesn’t seem to be doing any of that just unschooling and hiring a crapload of music teachers and tutors which has to cost tens of thousands of dollars. I could and would never do that. There’s something not real world about it. Unless she intends to continue the tutors for them through college.

  33. Terri Lynn Phillips
    Terri Lynn Phillips says:

    Hey Penelope, this is my first comment on a blog. I don’t know how I ended up on your blog but you definitely kept my attention. The strife between husband and wife is the relationship glue. The way you use that glue is the relationship success. I like that you blog about your reality. It helps me feel not alone in my relationship strife. Thank you and get you a headset, so you don’t end up with phone chili, lol.

  34. Nitin Ravale
    Nitin Ravale says:

    I don’t know how I landed on this blog but feels lucky when i read articles that has connection with my life. Here,Can feel the farmer , Strong Women’s who stood in my life when i really needed and my family. Truly Life is Awesome when we deal every secs of such life.

  35. Cassandra
    Cassandra says:

    It’s good to see you blogging again Penelope. I don’t think you will have much luck sustaining your relationship with the farmer if you are living apart — especially since you can’t seem to find much to talk about over the phone. I am guessing that the attraction between you is more physical than verbal, and you can’t nurture physical attraction when you live apart. I imagine the kinds of people who enjoy being farmers probably don’t think in terms of ‘goals’ so he probably wants to stay on the farm simply because he enjoys it there and feels like he is in his element. If I were you, I would sell the piano and look into boarding schools for musically gifted children.

  36. Buck
    Buck says:

    Ok you have the awesomest hubby ever but this is risky. Seems like your first marriage ended because you made your hubby sacrifice too much and he lost himself. Family isn’t just you And living vicariously through your kids. Your children by all your talk were quite content on the farm
    This seems entirely career driven by you to live vicariously through your Kids. If you can afford so many lessons and tutoring and expensive home items you’re rich. Just because you’ve been broke changes nothing. It’s hard for me to take homeschooling advice when the person dispensing it has their biggest accomplishment be finding a teacher to do all. I’m sure that’s no small task nor was so much driving and tiger moming. No one doubts your devotion. But I think you need to stop being so self centered. Your kids success is important not for happiness but for some odd validation you can’t seem to get enough of. Compromise and keep your family together. There’s always a way. Make it all about you again and you’re just repeating the same mistake. You’re a middle aged lady and you have life experience that seems to not register.

    • Lynne
      Lynne says:

      How can you possibly call the farmer the best hubby ever when he says things like: “I hate you”, “put a bra on” ‘ Hope your happiness course sells so you stop borrowing my money”, “I won’t hit you anymore if you promise to just shut up”, “I’d like to have an affair with that woman with the bubbly personality”… just as rape is rape, abuse is abuse. The f-man is abusive. And you call that a good husband?

      This wasn’t a free ride. The lonely middle-aged never married, never left Wisconsin farmer had a home filled with life, laughter and unconditional love. Home cooked meals, a beautiful garden, a lover, a friend, and a partner He stomped out the flame day after day, year after year, until this extraordinarily bright womam said enough is enough and walked out.

      Stop with the age thing. We know. We’re realistic. But many a woman would rather live alone and in peace than with someone who makes us feel lonely. There is a world of difference between alone and lonely.

  37. Buck
    Buck says:

    Also wondering why do you suddenly have nothing to talk about with your husband. Could it be he wasn’t much of a talker to begin with and you feel guilty and there’s physical and emotional distance affecting how you connect. It seems like you hold him in little regard where you’re concerned after posting so much on keeping marriage together. I felt like a HUGE FAILURE when my marriage ended and still do and some of your posts hurt even though they were baffling given you are divorced and seem to have done everything to cause it even if you didn’t pull the trigger. You either do or don’t love your husband. Did your kids ask to move it was it all you? Seriously you couldn’t move to a closer city? I hope the farmer does all the sacrificing for your kids sake but I feel he deserves better. You should probably let him go because he can still start s new family. This doesn’t seem like love at least not in your part. Won’t lecture you there. You are who you are.

  38. Lynne
    Lynne says:

    I don’t like the farmer. I never have. Not from day one. The farmer is not a nice person.

    You are a nice person. Yes you have your quirks. He has his quirks. We all do. Here’s the difference. The farmer is a nasty, selfish, son of a bitch. And consistent. Consistently condescending, hurtful, degrading, belittling, dismissive, snid, hateful, disrespectful, and most unloving.

    Go back and read all of your very own posts that mention the f-man. It sucked from day one. You just hoped and wanted to believe it would stop sucking one day. But it didn’t and it won’t. Ever. Because he’s not capable. Not with you. Not with anyone.

    Because character is our core. It is who we are. And one’s character never changes. Just like a zebra’s stripes never change. You, with all of your nutiness, come from a place of love. It is so obvious. The real you is a soft, sweet, kind, and loving soul. A soul who simply yearns for what we all do as human beings. Unconditional love and acceptance.

    Don’t blame yourself. It takes two. The worst in us comes out when we feel threatened. It’s called self-preservation.

    I’m glad you walked. Ran. Got the hell out. Now, keeping walking and don’t look back. But do get what is rightfully yours. The loaning you $ thing was BS. Were you his tenant or his wife?

    Get back to doing what you do best: help someone who needs your guidance, encouragement, and support. Make a difference. Change one person’s life for the better. Be that person. Give back. THIS is what your boys will admire you for the most. Helping others when we’re down and hurt is one of the most healing things we can do to heal our own hearts.

    You’ve got this. And you’ve got what matters most: your boys.
    Perhaps you will find a big brother for both of them…and mend multiple hearts in the process. New friends. A new extended family. Gifts from the heart. It’s all you need. You’ll see.

    You’ve got this. And you’ve got what matters most, your boys.

  39. Sherlyn Shah
    Sherlyn Shah says:

    I came here for recruitment topics since i do work as an HR but got truly involved in this blog article. One thing everyone should be clear its not the farmer or the women described here – Its the individual that faces his or her own life makes a difference. God has designed us with different nature accordingly we all will work and perform , so better leave the way it is and better enjoy it in a positive way with positive outcome – even the farmer is right as per his life and decisions.

  40. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    How much money does Penelope owe the farmer? How many thousands and thousands of dollars of what should have been “seed crop” money — in the parlance — has she made off with, never to repay?

    • Valerie
      Valerie says:

      You seem like you are someone who has a personal stake in all this. If Penelope and the Farmer regarded themselves as married (though not legally), what is the point of “loaning” money to each other?

      • KJ
        KJ says:

        I missed the posts on the loan. I don’t get it. If you go into a relationship later in life or after marriages, people have established funds. Normally it’s an awful idea in a marriage to take a large sum. Just my opinion. Technically it’s very possible that one party could have worked hard for money before meeting the second party and be resentful if that money is blown away.

  41. Rita
    Rita says:

    Lynne myob. Please. I can’t stomach people who advise others to divorce. Seriously how can you justify judging a man YOU NEVER MET. Is Penelope THAT bewitching that you trust every word out of her mouth even though she’s a known admitted fabulist. Don’t judge someone you don’t know. Seems like obvious wisdom. Anyway don’t know anything bout the money biz but the bard put it best. Never a borrower nor a lender be.
    My advice on elder son. F Ivy League. Go to a top tier state school and save some coin.

    • jessica
      jessica says:

      Re: Ivy’s- How are the academics coming along with him?
      I’ve been wondering due to the posts about constant tutors yet being really far behind academically in the normal school structure in English and Maths. How does that happen with tutors? Maybe I’m miss reading.

  42. Rita
    Rita says:

    Lynne, have you asked the farmer what Penelope has said to him? Can scarcely imagine. Remember Penelope is a good writer speaker. I’m sure she can take someone down hard. I was an R.A all through college. The FIRST shit I had to mediate was a hysterical girl with the most convincing sob story ever. I dig into the boyfriend to the point of mentioning campus code and restraining order but I found out (there was no shortage of witnesses) that this girl was extremely drunk abusive verbally and physically and threatening to go home with other guys and making a huge public scene do the boyfriend responded by forcefully trying to drive her home over letting her get into the car of a total stranger while she was trashed. I had to lecture them both but the girl was not telling the truth in terms of context. Live and learn. Maybe the farmer is bad but I doubt it. Takes a certain person to accept someone with kids who aren’t theirs. Just my opinion.

  43. Gustavo Woltmann
    Gustavo Woltmann says:

    It’s indeed difficult to leave what you used to do. But it is also good to sometimes step up and aim higher when you already accomplished what you aimed for before. Life doesn’t stop there, it is endless until it ends. Sounds ironic but I know most people will understand what I mean.

  44. KJ
    KJ says:

    How can you not like a person you have never met? You do realize this is her blog, her POV. It’s not fact. It is her opinion, her reflection. I thought the farm life sounded awesome and that everyone was happy but I guess not. You need to update the bio section on your blog about where you live. I tend to agree about the marital prospects for women over 50. It’s called statistics. I don’t get the sense Penelope wants to be married. She’s kind of married to her kids as a career.

    • jessica
      jessica says:

      This is really non-PC, but I still think P should be married to an older rich dude (ENTJ) who has his own stuff going on. I think they’d keep each other entertained at a distance.

      But-BUT- isn’t the farmer really well off in terms of land ownership, but not cashflow? How about he just sells the farm (gasp!) and moves into a great property around Philly. I’d love to read that storyline.

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